History of Kho-Kho in India
goes back a long way, as it was first started in the state of Maharashtra. The game has been very popular in the Marathi speaking people. This game, for many years, was played in an informal ways! In order to make the game very popular, the Deccan Gymkhana club of Poona tried to formalize the game! The first edition of the rules, of Aryapatya Kho-Kho and Hu-Tu-Tu, was published in 1935, by the newly founded Akhil Maharashtra Shareerika Shikshan Mandal. In order to suite the playing condition some amendments have been made.
One of the main points of a successful animal life is "Active Chase" which is a fundamental principle of the Indian game called Kho Kho, synonymous with the phrase "Game of Chase". It will not be a mistake to say that Kho Kho was a recognized sport in the ancient times even earlier to the oldest mythological writings of classics- Mahabharata
. The game of chase was then also regarded as legend, as it used in phraseology as "putting Kho to someone`s active chase meaning putting an effective block and stopping the progress". The current adaptation of the game was actually an adaptation about the time of World War I in 1914, but at the same time lacked exacting rules and regulation that govern the games in the modern times. There were neither any dimension to the playground nor the poles which demarcate the central line, and the factor was also missing!
The Deccan Gymkhana of Pune so named and opened by the great Indian leader Lokmanya Tilak formulated the first ever rule and regulation, that, in a way, symbolized the rules to follow in the future. The initial stage actually marked the restrain of the playground and yet sadly lacked the poles demarking the central line in the field. Instead, two less talented players were posted squatting at the place and chasers to run around them to return to the midfield.
It helped to capture the imagination of experts and they did not waste much time to realize that the game demanded high degree of quick reflexes, agile movement, good nerve reflexes and tremendous stamina, that all amount to a supreme athlete. The year 1919 saw the game of Kho Kho delimit an elliptical field with 44 yards long midline and 17 yards width of ellipse!
The 1923-24 saw the foundation of Inter School Sports Organization and Kho Kho was introduced to promote at the grass roots and consequently popularize the sports. The certainly conveyed the results and the game of Kho Kho mainly owe it to the efforts taken by Deccan Gymkhana and Hind Vijay Gmykhana. To develop expertise and skill in Kho Kho the then prevalent games of Langdi and Atya-Patya were the supporting factor. The latter needs special mention which was well-known because if its scuffle skills of defending.
Akhil Maharashtra Sharirik Shikshan Mandal (Physical Education Institute) was set up in the year 1928 when Dr. Abasahib Natu of Pune, Shri. Mahabal Guruji of Nasik, Shri. Karmarkar Vaidya of Miraj and Dr. Mirajkar of Mumbai spared no efforts to negotiate with Kho-Kho experts and formulated the rules and regulations of the game which differed just a little from the existing rules of the Federation today. Hind Vijay Gymkhana, Baroda and Deccan Gymkhana, Pune
had their own codes of rules which were in variance with each other. The experts from around sixty Gymkhanas, in 1933, came together and evolved a joint code of rules under the banner of Akhil Maharashtra Sharirik Shikshan Mandal which was circulated all over and with a few suggestions and alterations. A "new code" was taken on in 1935
Over the years the rules have also undergone a major change. The initial system in 1914 offered 10 points for every opponent getting out and each innings lasted for nine months. It was made to 5 points in 1919 and match lasted for eight minutes. In case the entire team scored out before time, then the chasers were allotted a bonus of 5 points for every spare minute left not played. Further changes took place with the shape of the playing ground as it became rectangular from elliptical. The distance between two poles shortened to 27 yards and the free zone beyond each pole a rectangle 27 yards x 5 yards also known as `D` zone. The free zone had no barriers for the chaser who could move to any direction irrespective of change of direction.
The first All India Kho-Kho Championships were arranged at Vijay Wada in 1959 - 60 under Kho-Kho Federation of India. The championship was won by the then Mumbai province under the leadership of Rajabhau Jeste who was a champion player, expert commentator and redoubtable coach made in one. 1960-61 featured Women`s Championships for the first time.
In the year 1982, the game was included as part of Indian Olympic Association and few years later in 1989 saw the game as a `demonstration` in `Asian Games` Festival. Some new reforms in the game have taken place that has been incorporated by the Asian Federation. The poles have been put a little close distance at 23.50 meters and the play ground also increased in the width of 16 meters. The duration of the innings will last to nine minutes. The year 1998 saw the first ever International Championship organized in the Indian city
. Sponsors, who come from different fields, have also been associated with the game, and Bank of Maharashtra has developed their first ever team of Professional players when others like Indian Railways are about to follow the suit.